We love Kenya. So much so that we recently headed to the East African country for some fun times with startups. Ahead of the trip, we thought we would list some noteworthy startups. How do you pick 11 great startups to write about? You reach out to the community.
And the community delivered. By no means is this the definite list of Kenyan startups, but these are ones our community loves.
Kenya has long been at the forefront of tech innovation in Africa and we are excited to get more involved in that community, so please tell us which startups you think still need to go on this list.
This company is taking an old idea and smartening it up. The flagship product is the smart jacket, which the company describes as a “unique product that aims to increase visibility of bikers on our roads”, thus reducing the number of Kenyans who die in traffic accidents on motorbikes.
Using wireless technology, when a motorbike user turns left or right, this movement is indicated on the wearer’s jacket via strip of lights.
The jacket also comes with a GPS tracker, which allows for bikers’ locations to be tracked in real time.
Traffic is one of the biggest problems for most African cities. This is where Ma3Route comes in: the mobile/web/SMS platform is crowd-sourcing transport data to provide users with traffic information. It also gives users matatu (minibus taxis) directions and driving reports.
The idea is to make travelling easier in developing countries by “democratising timely transport information”.
“We hope to bring greater sanity to the roads and inform city planning and transport regulation in emerging economies through the provision of transport data and trend analysis,” says the company.
On demand deliveries are becoming more prominent in Africa. That’s what Sendy is doing, instantly connecting users and riders. This is a cool idea – users connect to platform and get their deliveries taken care of, and users can pay through M-Pesa or VISA.
“Sendy is all you need when you want those keys dropped or surprise that special person with flowers or pizza,” says the company.
It would be cool to see if ecommerce sites integrate it into their businesses, making it an option for deliveries.
This startup is ambitious – its mission is to make 50-million kids across rural Africa smarter. The education platform is looking to connect parents and schools with the right content for their kids and students.
“We’re a team of dedicated individuals who share the goal of giving students access to the information that will improve their intelligence, their general knowledge, and their lives,” says the startup.
The content, which is accessible mostly on mobile, is tailored to the local context of the students. The aim is to give schools without access meaningful data for a good-quality education.
A management tool for a self-help group, which we hear is pretty huge in East Africa. Chamasoft, hot on the heels of their Evernote developer challenge win, is a software system that enables small investment groups manage their activities with ease.
“Chamasoft software combines robust analytics with dynamic features in order to give members with common interests ease of self organisation and realisation of maximum benefits,” says the company.
The idea is to bring proper tracking, recording and inexpensive management of small financial groups.
Bringing B2B solution for SMEs across Kenya, MiniERP is a management tool that helps entrepreneurs manage their businesses. According to the company the service is much more than just ruining the books.
The cloud-based financial management solution both online and offline.
“It allows you to completely digitise your business but with very little capital investment in terms of buying digital equipment,” says the startup.
We are seeing the rise of solar companies in Africa and M-KOPA making waves in the category. The startup aims to help its customers get “rid of kerosene and other costly and inefficient energy substitutes”. As Solar powered appliances become more available to the market, M-KOPA is hoping to make the technology more affordable. How? By offering “world-class solar power products” to consumers for less than the current daily spend on kerosene.
“We enable consumers to leapfrog to locally-generated, clean, renewable energy,” says the startup.
Updating the legal industry in Kenya, this startups claims to deliver “state-of-the-art, high quality case management system for law firms” as well as governmental agencies and more. Sheriasoft reckons that its “affordable, intuitive and powerful legal practice management system” is well placed for the modern law firm. The system allows firms to get organised with contacts, calendars, cases, messages documents, tasks, and billing.
“Sheriasoft is the only software that also includes an integrated client module so everyone stays informed and connected,” says the company.
A startup for startups and developers. Gearbox’s aim is to be the brain hub for innovative ideas and skills sharing. The point is to provide a platform that allows for capacity building in line with the integration of hardware skills, with the vast software expertise available.
Gearbox wants to change the way developers and tech entrepreneurs work by nurturing a community of members working on tech-related projects.
“It will serve a pivotal role in incubating and accelerating innovations its members so as to build the capacity of electronic manufacturing in Kenya through collaboration on projects in a wide range of scales,” says the startup.
What is the ROI on social media? This is the question that brands have been asking themselves for sometime now. Yes social is good but can it translate into users and customers? This is what Vironow wants to do. The startup claims to be able to turn a brand’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers into real customers.
“It allows you to sell any product directly using a simple link,” says the startup. “Whenever someone clicks on the shared link, will eventually end up buying or engaging with you over that product and thus helping you to convert better on social networks.”
It is also targeted at writers, designers and filmmakers, giving them the opportunity to make money directly from social media.
Instant messaging is an important part of our lives now. Onagair wants to translate this to the business environment. The startup says it is enabling instant messaging for business by providing a web-based dashboard to access your accounts. This is just another Yammer clone, it actually more for customer services, allowing you to engage with your customers more easily.
Photo Credit: Brian Snelson